Way back in the olden days there was a big box retailer that my employer had a long-standing and fierce rivalry with.

It was very Sharks vs Jets.

Anyway, that rival retailer understood the power of language: that both what you say and how you say it matters.

They spent a large sum of money with an outside consultant who told them that the word with the most powerful positive vibe attached to it was “Fantastic.”

So equipped, their senior management mandated the use of “Fantastic” (or more commonly “FANTASTIC!!!”) in all of their internal and external communication.

If you eavesdropped on one of their salespeople, you were likely to hear them say “Mr. Customer, this is a Fantastic VCR!”

When you called their stores and asked the person at the switched “Hi, how are you?” they were guaranteed to reply “Fantastic, thanks! How are you?”

One ex-salesperson who came to work for us told me how despite his sales metrics being top tier his manager wrote him up in a disciplinary letter “for not saying ‘FANTASTIC’ often enough.”

Needless to say, we mocked them relentlessly for it, frequently uttering “Fantastic!” in an ironic manner.

There was just one problem.

They were right all along.

Words DO matter. Both what you say and how you say it makes a difference.

It doesn’t just affect the things you say, it affects the things you do.

Fantastic is a great word, all right. I use it a lot.

But I also feel it’s important to not have a limited vocabulary. I’m just as likely to say “Amazing” as “Fantastic.”